A 2nd-round pick?
That was my first incredulous reaction to news
of the Cassel-Vrabel trade
. But then I thought: 1.) Cassel was probably gone after next year anyway. 2.) a high second-round pick is effectively a first-round pick for the Pats. 3.) the Pats must be confident both about Brady's comeback (though I'm not) and Kevin O’Connell as a backup (I haven't a clue). I also haven't been overly impressed with Cassel. But I'm in a minority on that one. ... Vrabel's departure was a sad surprise. Professional sports is a brutal business with no room for sentimentality.Update
thinks the trade was a 'best-case scenario' for the Pats. ... I'm also apparently not alone in thinking Cassel's performance last year was not indicative of future performance.
'Has Obamanomics Vanquished Reaganomics?'
The whole Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics
meme is silly. Obviously, the economic world hasn't yet grasped Hub Blog's groundbreaking Theory of Alternating Economic Theories
, which says the excesses of one theory creates the conditions for the other, and vice versa. The ossified socialism in Great Britain and liberal stagnation in America in the '70s created the conditions for Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. The later excesses of their policies, in turn, have created the conditions for Obama and Obamanomics. I'm 100 percent sure -- not just 99.9 percent sure -- there will be Obamanomic excesses that will soon have a majority of Americans demanding smaller government and lower taxes. ... FYI: Note the Rassmusen poll in which 59 percent of respondents still agree with Reagan’s famous line that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Conservatives shouldn't take too much comfort from that response, though. For the time being, Americans are still grossed out by the excesses of the disastrous Bush years.
P.S. -- Pride comes before the fall.
'It’s good because it’s like it’s so bad'
Lots to choose from when it comes to Clerk Burke's
alleged courthouse sexcapades.
But of course my eyes were attracted to this: 'Warning: Uncensored court affidavit and may offend some readers.'
It's not that bad. I found his $85,000 salary more offensive.Update
trying to identify Clerk Burke's patronage sponsor.
'In turn, his teammates felt blessed'
for Stephon Marbury. Hope Rajon's game
isn't disrupted by Marbury's presence. Rajon has sort of emerged as the Dustin Pedroia of the Celts. He's the future. Not Marbury, as much as Marbury's presence may be welcome this season.
Where were these protests two months ago?
I already know the answer.
Just pointing it out.
MDS spreads to L.A.
They've soured on Manny in L.A.
... Kevin's always sour on Manny in Boston.
... From our favorite LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke:
For a 36-year-old man who quit on his last team, it was a golden chance at redemption, an unthinkable deal of a lifetime.
This week, by every stretch of the wildest imagination, the Dodgers made Manny Ramirez a no-lose proposition.
By rejecting it Thursday, Ramirez has officially lost it.
He's lost his dignity. He's lost his perspective. He's lost his marbles.
Moving on to other sports: Hub Blog officially welcomes the arrival of Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury
to Boston, though it's not exactly reassuring when you read headlines like this: 'Ex-coach: Marbury's Not A Jerk.'
Really? OK. (FYI: The headline was on the print front page this morning, but not on the online story.) ... File this under: I don't care.
... It's amazing how many MLB players attended Weight Watchers
during the off-season.
What is the proper role of government?
It really is an historic time
when the scope of Obama's ambitions are, rightly, compared with those of FDR, LBJ and Reagan. Though he clearly doesn't like what he sees, Charles Krauthammer
does a good job outlining the debate going forward. ... How are conservatives to respond to Obama's unabashed push toward European-style big government? John Derbyshire has a suggestion: Turn off the right-wing talk radio. OK, he doesn't quite say that. But he makes an excellent point that the low-brow talk meisters are dominating the debate -- and not enough is being heard from other quarters. ...
My suggestion would be for conservatives to start asking this question: What is the proper role of government? Please, no pithy but ultimately meaningless answers like 'small government.' They need to ask themselves variations of this question on an almost agency-by-agency, program-by-program basis: What is the proper role of government in regulating the financial markets? What is the proper role of government in responding to natural disasters? Etc. Then they'll need to drill down farther: When presented with running an agency conservatives don't like, do you: A.) Install hacks to run it, therefore guaranteeing money will be wasted or B.) Install competent managers to run it, in the hope waste can be minimized until its long-term future is determined? These are the type of questions not being asked. There's no 'paradoxical pragmaticism'
among conservatives these days because it's far easier for them to carp from the sidelines and pretend their utopian experiment in Ayn Rand economics didn't happen, on one hand, while they flinched from criticizing George Bush's vast expansion of government, on the other hand.
From my somewhat moderate perspective, all I can say is: I don't want conservatives back in office until they answer some of these questions. Their 'tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts' refrain just ain't cutting it.Update
-- Bert liked the post and adds:
As a liberal, I wouldn’t let our folks off the hook on this task, either. Is there anyone that wouldn’t argue that every policy and agency seems to have become an unreasonable binary proposition, with both options seeming to be a bit too tied to a generic philosophy designed to support a “big tent” party philosophy?
At some point, doesn’t an all encompassing party philosophy work as a detriment to honest policy discussion and debate? You’re always opening yourself up to a charge that you’re positions are contradictory.
'God came to Boston in 1966'
A great article on Bobby Orr
-- both as the player and agent (via John
). Orr comes across as hockey's Joe DiMaggio, deeply proud and private, even as they hawked BayBank and Mr. Coffee in retirement.
Like father, like son, Part III
Hub Blog stands corrected: Angela produced the bill.
It makes the mayoral part of the Menino This Old House saga minor and explainable. But not so for Jr. and the daughter. ... Joan
also sees a family pattern and notes the obvious Michael Flaherty parallel. She also indicates it might be time for change at City Hall. I'd like change too. But I want to see the mayor leave on top. He can do so now with his head held high. But one gets the impression another term will be the term too much, not unlike Kevin White's last morose four years.Update
-- More on Menino This Old House
. Here's the crazy thing: The mayor can now plausibly say he, personally, didn't mean to hire a city worker. Yet he's defending the practice of using city workers (plural) while sounding more like old-man Daley by the day.
Like father, like son, Part II
I've gotten a couple of emails similar to the one below:
I don't really care who the old man pays to change his lightbulbs - which is essentially what they're nailing him for. It pales in comparison to the flamethrower Gelzinis takes to him (and Jr.) today - and that's a problem, since the (first) story, and not the (Gelzinis) column, has been leading discussions today.
I see his point on the mayor -- and will stand corrected if more doesn't develop and it turns out I jumped the condemnation gun. But it's the whole Menino family pattern I'm seeing at this point.
'The Beauty of Brutalism'
After the Meninos complete renovations on their homes, they may want to turn their this-old-house attention to what Yale has done to its Paul Rudolph Hall
, a modern "brutalism" structure similar to Boston's City Hall. ... Hub Blog has long urged a common-sense restoration
of City Hall (scroll down to second item). But the author in the first link doesn't seem optimistic about saving City Hall, calling Boston "obdurately clueless" and adding:
The current City Hall is being systematically and willfully destroyed by abusive neglect, aggravated malfunction, and spreading bureaucratic blight.
Like father, like son
Or, in Boston's case, is it "Like son
, like father
"? ... One of the reasons I've long admired Mayor Menino, despite all his flaws, is that he's avoided the taint of personal scandal over the years. Indeed there hasn't been many blockbuster City Hall corruption scandals in general since he took office. The use of city workers to renovate his and Jr.'s homes certainly doesn't rank high on the Blago Scale of Public Take-Your-Breath-Away Sleaziness. But it does, combined with the Dianne Wilkerson fiasco, suggest rot has set in at City Hall. City employees toiling away on public officials' homes is one of the oldest scandals in the book -- and Menino fell for it. He's lost his touch. He can yap all he wants about how he reimbursed them. But, c'mon, using city workers on home renovations, the same employees he bosses around on their day jobs, is a sure sign of a mayor morphing into an old-style city Boss. ...
'People are stretched to the limit'
No excuse for this type of behavior
-- especially from public-sector workers who haven't suffered nearly as much as private-sector workers. But many people are indeed stretched to the limit.
Expanding government and reining in government
are, in combination, an obvious contradiction. But there's no contradiction if the latter is a quasi-PR stunt to allay fears that the former is getting out of control.
'Stocks Drop to 50% of Peak'
Re yesterday's stock plunge
: Let the record show the NYPost called it in October.
... I should have followed
my previous inner-NYPost instinct
. I became too optimistic in my pessimism. But Andy Kessler did warn that February would be a tough month.
'Have you given up?'
Bert writes in:
I figured this would’ve earned a reference to cheese farming in Tuscany or some such thing. Have you given up?
To which I responded:
Nah, I haven't given up. But the story you sent just doesn't live up to the high standards of mockery reserved for stories on Vermont Cheese Makers and Tuscany trailblazers. Those stories require rich people retiring into a psychological universe all their own, similar to a gentleman farmer's mindset of living with the masses while not really living with the masses -- and then not acknowledging the rich-people-pretending-to-be-simple-folk fact in a story. ...
BTW: I enjoyed being a lazy unemployed slacker during the last recession -- at least until my rainy day fund ran out and I started cracking open the 401(k). So I rather liked the story about people enjoying their forced time off.
An apology? Part II
Rupert issues a more forceful apology
for the cartoon. It still has that who-felt-offended caveat, but a publisher's apology on top of an apology
is usually a sign of: 1.) He isn't impressed with the handling of the entire matter. 2.) He's feeling heat. ... Not exactly a good environment
to be insulting a large swath of your readership.
'A comeback for the GOP in the Northeast'?
I suppose if you frame the debate
as “it can’t get worse for Republicans,” then, yeah, a GOP “comeback” or “rebound” is possible in the Northeast and New England. But notice there’s no mention of "Massachusetts" in the analysis. What if the one-party Massachusetts is a harbinger of things to come for other Northeast states? At this point, I'd say the prospect of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont moving toward the Massachusetts model is far more likely than other scenarios. Add in the increasingly blue New Hampshire and Maine and you have a full New England sweep. ... The rebranding of the Republican Party
here is merely a tiny first step toward a true "comback." ...
'Worthy to look at'
Hub Blog was joking when I proposed a jobs-multiplier bang-for-the-buck early retirement program
for government workers -- but the Boston Finance Commission isn't.
... So that's how the mayor bribed some unions to freeze their salaries. The big question: What percentage of the jobs will be refilled? BFC is recommending two-thirds. Betting will start there. ... Love the suggestion about forcing "all city workers on disability or sick leave for extended periods to return to work or retire." What? But how would home renovations get done using city-wired workers
? ... (You and your big jobs-multiplier mouth
.-ed. But I was only joking. You're still to blame for all this
.-ed. I accept full responsibility.)
'Miami Beach, the real Silicon Valley'
Brighton Reader, acting as Hub Blog's special economics correspondent in Miami, files his report:
Miami Beach, the real Silicon Valley, my God, I never saw so many fake boobs. ...
The economy there is very bad, much worse than here. The difference between Boston and Miami today is like Paris vs. Warsaw in 1989.
The streets are empty. Presidents Day weekend should be the height of the season, there is a boat show, a wine and food festival started this weekend, but the hotels and restaurants seemed barely alive. At lunch the cafes were half-full. Sunday things were busy along Ocean Drive, but that was the only day that it was even close to like it had been when I was last there, in January 2005. January is not considered as part of the top of the season, but it was much more crowded then than this past week.
The Miami Herald highlighted the closing of a modeling agency. Check out the video, girls in bikinis worried about the economy - how much more tragic can it get on Miami Beach?!
Perhaps the world's worst phone number
He's got it.
But can you delist a name?
'Hack-Progressive Alliance Shoots Self in Foot'
In an email slugged 'Hack-Progressive Alliance Shoots Self in Foot,' Reader No. 1 writes in:
Next time we hear from local governments about their budget problems, direct them to this excellent column from Robert Samuelson of Newsweek. The heart of the matter:
"Congress might have done more by providing large, temporary block grants to states and localities and letting them decide how to spend the money. Instead, the stimulus provides most funds through specific programs. There's $90 billion more for Medicaid, $12 billion for special education, $2.8 billion for various policing programs. More power is being centralized in Washington."
'It's like the sports pages'
Quote of the month goes to a Hub Blog relative who's now an avid reader of business sections' daily dose of scoundrels and losers, bad strategies and near misses, stock-market standings and the exciting race to the ethical and financial bottom. "It's like the sports pages," he said. ...
With that in mind, I pass along the latest analysis pieces on Harvard's financial woes here
. Reader No. 1 also passes along this excellent article on Nouriel "Dr. Doom" Roubini
, who thinks free-marketers better get off their Ayn Rand butts when it comes to looking at the economic world realistically:
The idea that government will fork out trillions of dollars to try to rescue financial institutions, and throw more money after bad dollars, is not appealing because then the fiscal cost is much larger. So rather than being seen as something Bolshevik, nationalization is seen as pragmatic. Paradoxically, the proposal is more market-friendly than the alternative of zombie banks.
I said something similar
today while wearing my other hat. But don't count on a new birth of Republican pragamaticism any time soon. The time for paradoxical pragmaticism was during negotiations over the stimulus bill. Now some GOP governors are trying make a last stand
when it doesn't matter. The money's out the door, governors. ... I'm tempted to make a snide remark about how it's going to be a long wilderness era for Republicans. But then I read the latest jobs-multiplier nonsense from the Obama administration and Congress and I think, "How many seats will Democrats lose in 2010? Twenty? Forty?"
It's one of those 'those-who-were-offended' type of non-apology apologies.Update
calls the 'apology' a "preposterously defensive, disingenuous statement."
'Time to let Fenway go,' Part II
Bert just wants Fenway improved:
The part by Lucchino about having no intention to redo the seats so that they actually face the field was disappointing to read.
As for sections 3, 4 and 5, Lucchino said, “They’ve been around since 1934 and I suppose it’s architecturally possible to do something different with them, but you end up losing a significant number of seats if you do that. And given the demand for Red Sox [team stats] tickets, and then what is a 70-year history for those seats, there are no plans to adjust those seats.”
70-year history for those seats? Is he serious? That Lucchino really can be tone-deaf sometimes.
I was really expecting that they would redo the seating in the bowl. The entire lower section, not just sections 3, 4 and 5. ...
Sure, save it until last, after they’ve added enough seats elsewhere to somewhat offset the number they’d lose in the process. But to have no intention of turning and widening the seats is a big letdown. The concourses and bathrooms are great and all, but where are we spending most of our time in the ballpark?
Wait, that’s not the point, is it? To keep the seats so uncomfortable that you’ll keep getting up and…buying things?! No, no, no. I can’t believe that. Maybe that’s Larry’s thought process, but I don’t think John Henry is that bad.
'Time to let Fenway go'
John Henry et gang haven't "fooled all their fans" into loving Fenway Park. Most fans loved it before Henry et gang arrived here and will love it long after Henry et gang move on to the big baseball field in the sky. ...
'A nation of cowards'
This really bugged me.
... From an administration that questioned the patriotism of many citizens to an administration that questions the courage of all citizens, our leadership class never fails to astonish.Update
-- From Peter Porcupine:
Attorney General Eric Holder described the United States Wednesday as a nation of cowards on matters of race, saying most Americans avoid discussing unresolved racial issues."
Perhaps Mr. Holder doesn't realize people may find him unpleasant to talk to for reasons having nothing to do with race.
Put this 'cowardice' in the context of the chimp cartoon brou-ha-ha. The Sharptons of the nation bear an eerie resemblance to the Muslims declaring jihad over the Muhammed cartoons in Denmark. What sort of honest discussion can be held when a parody of a current chimp-related news item is declared racist, and any protestation over lack of intent is declared mere quibbling? I wish the President would repudiate this unrequested 'defense'. In the word of Warren Harding, "I can take care of my enemies - it's my goddamn friends that re killing me."
Actually, I think the Post's 'chimp cartoon brou-ha-ha' is
a case of racisim, both in intent and effect. It sort of bolsters Holder's point to a degree. But emphasis on 'sort of' and 'to a degree.' It's the timing of his 'cowards' remark, coming so soon after the historic election of Barack Obama and his own rise to his current position, that bugs me -- not to mention the arrogance, moralism and self-righteousness behind the sweeping insult.
Who are you gonna believe?
Who are you gonna believe? Roland Burris
or your lying eyes?
thinks Burris is a goner. He's probably right if the U.S. Senate takes action. But I find it hard to believe Illinois can do the politically right thing twice in a row.
P.S. -- How can Massachusetts compete with Illinois? Massachusetts: Three House speakers in a row! Count 'em!
Illinois: Two governors and a U.S. Senator.
P.S.P.S. -- There are a lot of questions about whether Burris gets tripped up on perjury charges. But isn't it easier at this point to tie him to an alleged 'pay to play' scheme?Update
-- Sales of my book
must be booming since Blago's arrest last year. Prices are up 99 percent, in once case, and more than 1,200 percent, in another. ...
'Did Harvard kill Wall Street?'
From Reader No. 1:
I want to link out to stories about good things the Obama Administration is doing but... sorry, can't find 'em. And hope is not a strategy. Here's a few more:
Rich Kaarlgard with a conclusion that is too obvious for headline writers, many editors and reporters, and other well-educated folks.
Columbia Business Professor Amar Bhide on the path not taken (again, too simple).
Speaking of well-educated folks, a sobering hypothesis on what went wrong with Wall Street (all the more so given who's holding the keys to the White House).
Read the last link. It's depressing to think we just traded in one Harvard grad for another Harvard grad.
'Thank you for playing along with me'
Bert has obtained a read-between-the-lines transcript
of A-Rod's press conference today.
At least there's still a Tooth Fairy
It’s a Paul Krugman smackdown
– with an extra Santa Claus smackdown
. It’s still hard to beat, though, Clive Crook's smackdown
of politicized economists in general. ... P.S. - Paul
tried a smackdown of Clive's smackdown, sort of confirming Clive's original smackdown point in the process.
Counter-terrorism, a New Internet and other odds and ends
Some random thoughts and links on this surprisingly cold Sunday morning:
-- One of the Best Counter-terrorism Units in the World -- The NYPD.
It has 600 linguists, operatives in London, Tel Aviv, Singapore and elsewhere -- and relies heavily on human intelligence. Hey, would you
trust your survival on two federal agencies known for turf fighting? ... Here's how not
to fight Islamic terrorism.
-- Building a New Internet -- The idea
is to slip a new Internet network under the current one, theoretically making it more secure against cyper hackers, bandits, spies, etc.
-- The Blago Controversy Ain't Over -- 'Lawmakers call for Burris perjury investigation.'
... Summary: Well, you see, um, er, they asked me for what looked like a bribe, and, ah, I didn't report it, and then denied it, sort of, and it just escaped my mind until now, after I was appointed, but I never paid any money, and now I'm in the United States Senate.
-- He's No Bernard Cornwell But -- Hub Blog was once dubious
about claims that Simon Scarrow
was the next Bernard Cornwell of historic fiction. But I suppose when you whip through six of his books and order the 7th and 8th volumes via Amazon and you become a little testy when the books don't arrive on time, the word 'hooked' does come to mind. ... BTW: I've already whipped through Cornwell's Agincourt.
I enjoyed it, though it dragged a bit in the middle. BTW II: I'm not as big a historic-fiction fan as it might come across. I don't like most of them, particularly Knights Templar and other Da Vinci Code wannabes. But when they're well done and fast paced, I get hooked.
-- Welfare Reform Rollback Disguised as a Jobs Multiplier -- Mickey's still all over it.
Another thing to hate in the bill -- and it's perhaps the most infuriating and depressing aspect of it all.
-- Those Awful Hyper Partisan Meanie Republicans -- A look at the House GOP's new whip, Eric Cantor.
It's fascinating to follow how some pundits are still buying into the CW mantra that Republicans, and Republicans alone, were acting in a partisan way during the economic-stimulus package debate. They were partisan. They didn't offer up credible alternatives. But President Obama handed over drafting of the bill to liberal Democrats -- who proceeded to produce legislation that only liberals could truly love. ...
-- Why We'll Be In Iraq for a Long Time -- Tom Ricks explains.
'A huge wasted opportunity'
The Economist isn't happy
Mr Obama ceded control of the stimulus to the fractious congressional Democrats, allowing a plan that should have had broad support from both parties to become a divisive partisan battle. More serious still was Mr Geithner’s financial-rescue blueprint which, though touted as a bold departure from the incrementalism and uncertainty that had plagued the Bush administration’s Wall Street fixes, in fact looked depressingly like his predecessors’ efforts: timid, incomplete and short on detail. Despite talk of trillion-dollar sums, stockmarkets tumbled. Far from boosting confidence, Mr Obama seems at sea.
Harvard to offer buyouts to 1,600 employees
You know we're in a deep recession or worse when this happens
- I changed the header up top to 'offer buyouts' to be on the safe side of accuracy, though it's clear they're cutting away. ... More here
'Good News Is No News'
But remember that bad news was once no news for conservatives like Charles
Ah, for those stare-reality-in-the-face-not days of happy talk
on Iraq by conservatives. … Speaking of good news and bad news on Iraq, Tom Ricks has a new book out: The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008.
I guess you could call it a 'good news' follow-up to his first 'bad news' classic 'Fiasco.'
I know a couple people already reading 'The Gamble,' and they say it's as good and as unflinching as the first tome. So I guess the following statement I made more than a year ago apparently still stands:
God, it must be galling for happy-talk conservatives to admit to themselves that the evil MSM has gotten the war largely right.Update
-- From Reader BK:
Ah, for those stare-reality-in-the-face-NOT days of happy talk on Obama by liberals-under-the-thrall. . . . and as for Iraq, let's watch for the date when Obama starts claiming credit for continuing to successfully administrate the outcome of Bush's mistake.
'His enhanced, early pension'
Hub Blog is starting to sound like a broken record even to myself: Another ‘egregious’ pension payment.
At least he can argue the already dispersed $403,751 is a bang-for-the-buck jobs multiplier -- unless he had the audacity to save some of the money.
There are so many juicy aspects to this case – the alleged ‘firing’ and the ‘school committee’ service and the early nature of the ‘retirement’ and the blatant double dipping. Take your pick. My pet peeve is the ‘firing’ aspect. The pension payout was apparently triggered by an alleged anti-patronage law covering fired workers -- but that law is now legally outdated. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that patronage in most cases is illegal. See Rutan vs. Illinois Republican Party.
I know all about it. I covered it at the time. I’ll stand corrected if it’s since been modified. But the court ruled in 1990 that it’s a violation of public workers’ 1st Amendment rights if they’re fired for political purposes. Generally, all non-policymaking employees are protected by the court’s decision. They have legal recourse to unfair firings, promotions, transfers and hirings: The courts. But Massachusetts has never adjusted its laws to Rutan – or at least its patronage laws as applied to pensions. The reason is obvious: The anti-patronage law that applies to pensions isn’t really an anti-patronage law. It’s about keeping the gravy train going for the ruling governing class.
As for the case above, the ‘fired’ individual sure looks like he was in a top policy-making position – and therefore not protected by the Rutan decision that tried to give governing administrations flexibility to hire, fire, promote and transfer key managers at will in order to implement policies. They’re not supposed to be protected. But they’re protected, pension-wise, in Massachusetts. Guess why. See above reference to gravy train.
More on Rutan here
found something almost unbelievable: A 61-year-old ex-state senator who's not collecting a pension. What's up with that?Update II
-- Outraged Liberal
has more on government vettings and hirings.Update III
on the latest pension absurdity:
You know, it's this kind of thing that makes folks who aren't reflexively anti-government want to pull out their own fingernails.
Reader No. 1's one-word reaction to this
: 'Wow.' ... Wow is right. ... In an earlier email, Reader No. 1 wrote:
Mort Kondracke and Rush Limbaugh and You All Agree! ... Meanwhile, more concern from someone who understands how economies work. George Will is pretty good too. For some reason, ants and grasshoppers are coming to mind these days...
Let me get this straight: A prestigious university founded and funded by Catholics is suddenly 'anti-intellectual'
for putting up symbols of its religion? Then again those applauding the loudest belong to the Cardinal Newman Society
, whose members have made it their mission to 'expose the heretics' within colleges -- and within the media while they're at it. ... P.S. - At least BC doesn't have a 'Touchdown Jesus!'
mural looming over its football stadium. Maybe the Rev. William P. Leahy should drop that threatening hint to critics. How he shuts up the Newmanites, I don't know. Threaten to put James Carroll on faculty? ...Update
-- From Reader A:
As a non-Catholic with no connection to BC, I can't see any immediate objection to their new decor policy. It's not like you could have spent any time on the campus before without perceiving that it's a religious institution. The trouble could come if the iconography were to be interpreted as implying ecclesiastical approval of what's being taught in the classrooms. And I might be upset if I were a member of the Fine Arts Department.
'The first real glimpse ..'
If only this could happen in Massachusetts: After decades of one-party rule, the governing majority is finally tossed out -- and lookie what the opposition finds.
... What are Dems going on now in Massachusetts? Four decades going on five? Five decades going on six? I've lost track. The decades meld together at this point. ... House Dems are preparing to unveil 'sweeping reforms'
to crack down on 'egregious loopholes' in the pension system. It's so typical. It takes 'egregious' abuses for lawmakers to finally act -- and then they don't fix the fundamental problems like early retirement, double dipping, sick and vacation day payouts, salary padding. ... A 'cap' of $100,000? The new definition of 'egregious': Anything over $100,000. Everything else flies under the six-figure radar. ... I'm still trying to find words for it
-- Kevin writes in: "On the pension front, saw that you were 'almost speechless.'
Me, not so much
." But he notes that words aren't enough for the Manny item
the other day: "Thanks for the Manny link. Read that story. Puked." ...
Brighton Reader also writes in:
What’s good for Wall Street should be good enough for Beacon Hill. So how about a local version of the bailout salary limit: a pension cap.
No one could collect more than $100,000, in total, per year from the state pension system.
I really want to hear the argument why someone cannot retire on far more than 90% of what average wage earners live on.
I'd make the cap lower. What's the max for Social Security? Bring it in line with that. BTW: Those of us who pay into the Social Security system really do pay into the system. Unlike those who pay into a system, then get a huge portion of it back via 'unused' vacation and sick time payouts, before they start collecting pensions, sometimes decades before private-sector workers can collect on Social Security. ...
As for Wall Street, I've long assumed many government workers, especially managers, have enviously looked at the worst of the private sector, i.e. those executives making killer deals on bonuses, stock options, golden parchutes, etc., and adjusted their own perks accordingly to "stay competitive," not having a clue, or just not caring, that the vast majority of private-sector workers can only dream of making such amounts, on both fronts.
Welfare reform rollback
Mickey’s all over it.
Yet another thing they snuck into the stimulus bill.Update
bleak reaction to Treasury's latest bailout plan: "Today was a day when you could feel New York City shudder." But we're rolling back welfare reforms and hauling out bogus job multipliers, as Obama stakes his presidency on treating the symptoms and not the problem. ... There's a chance that looks could be deceiving
when it comes to Geithner's plan. But insolvency is insolvency -- and the only one deceiving himself appears to be Geithner.Update II
-- Andy Kessler
The market has already figured out that the banks and their accountants haven't fessed up to bad loans and that their shareholders are toast.
is going to feast on this.
'Sure Valentine's Day is February 14, but ...'
has a built-in advantage over other guys who scramble every Feb. 14: He gives flowers to Mrs. Noternie on Groundhog's Day. I'll let him explain. He also raves about a local flower shop that made him look like a romantic hero.
'Aw, c'mon, his apology is all spin'
Soxaholix on A-Rod
Seriously, hearing that an MLB playah has taken the roids is about as astonishing as hearing that a Cabinet nominee has cheated on their taxes.
27 cents or 29 cents or whatever
It has to be a trial balloon
to shock the public
into supporting toll hikes. ... Nothing against a more equitable gas-tax increase coupled with true reforms and elimination of tolls. But as the up-in-arms Armchair Gen. Savin Hill puts it:
According to published reports, part of Gov. Patrick's transportation plan is, and I quote:
"Trips would be measured by a chip installed in a vehicle inspection sticker as soon as 2014"
There is no way in Hell I am living in a state that will track my personal movements -- and bill me for them. The fact that government officials would even propose this leads me to seriously consider moving out of this state.
This is the most incredible intrusion of privacy I've ever heard of.
Doesn't the gas tax by definition force heavy drivers to pay more? But that's not the point. They really want to keep that toll revenue, in one guise or another. ... P.S. - A certain former AG
warns of another “Big Dig run amok” with the expected influx of federal stimulus money. The same applies to new state gas-tax revenue.Update
-- Someone at UH
makes a good point: Electric cars of the future, assuming they or other alternative-energy vehicles take off, won't be needing gas, thus the chip. Not that I like the chip. It's creepy. But now I understand the rationale.Update II
-- Outraged Liberal
says the 'unleaded balloon' is already snagged in the trees.
It’s not ‘partisan’ to oppose a Reagan Day.
It is conservatives themselves who are making it partisan by not putting Reagan into perspective – unless the same conservatives want government to also create an FDR Day for ideological balance and fairness. … It should be somewhat embarrassing to conservatives that some conservatives are whining for government recognition of a president who was rightly skeptical of government. The pathetic neediness of it says something about the current state of the 'conservative movement.'
A-Rod admits it.
I'll give him credit for that, though admitting it was a no-brainer after seeing what happened to Barry and Roger.Update
-- Peter Gammons got the scoop
'Maybe the slackers had it right'
... BTW: Slackers aren't confined to liberal Gen Xers.
'Joseph P. Kennedy Presents'
likes Cari Beauchamp's new book 'Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.'
Trivia question for Bostonians: Where did Ted get his middle name from? Answer in the review. I had no idea. ...
Thank goodness the Sox didn’t sign him.
... Love it: 'Nine More Years of a Marriage Not Made in Heaven.'
: 'Memo to Alex Rodriguez: I hope you're taking good notes as you watch what's happening to Barry Bonds.' ...
Moving on to other sports: New Yorkers appear envious
of the Pats' Cassel-or-Brady dilemma. I had a hunch
the Pats would slap a franchise tag on Cassel. Bert made a convincing argument they wouldn't. But they're obviously more nervous about Brady's knee than they're letting on. ... It's hard not to root for Northeastern in the Beanpot.
'The real economic experts?'
make more sense than your average economist these days. ... Margery, indirectly, shames pundits/bloggers like yours truly for harping too much on economic matters. So I'll keep this post brief: Dems should read this column
and then Louis Brandeis' 'Other People's Money.'
Fixing the financial system isn't as sexy and fun as spending other people's money. But it's at the heart of our economic problems today. Massachusetts Financial Service's Bob Pozen
has some smart ideas on how to deal with all those toxic mortgage assets -- and it has nothing to do with bogus job-multiplier effects. ...Update
-- Harvard's Robert Barro
, after clobbering Paul Krugman, says Tim Geithner is on the right track:
I think Geithner is a good appointment. I think he's going to focus on what really matters, which is the financial system and the housing market. That's where they should be putting their efforts. That's where the problems came from.
Considering that retro Keynesianism is back big time (“prime the pump” and pull out those “job multiplier’’ calculators everyone!), Armchair Gen. Savin Hill hauls out oldie-but-goodies TV commercials from the '60s and '70s:
"Crisco - It's digestible too!" -- You have to love the aunt mentioning that "it's digestible too." That's good because forcing children to eat undigestible food is called child abuse.
When toy guns were fun.
Buffalo rifle -- Americans like killing buffalo, we really do - we just can't help it.
Crisco Salad Oil -- Apparently olive oil wasn't discovered until some time in the 1980s.
Hai Karate ad -- You'll have to beat the women off you! No really -- violently beat them.
First Ronald McDonald commercial -- Gee, maybe the whole creepy clown angle isn't such a good idea.
Fred Flintstone cigarette ad -- Hey kids, Fred smokes Winston, why don't you?
You have to see the Crisco salad oil ad to believe it. They have a guy literally gagging on natural foods to make their point. ... Any day now, I'm half expecting Obama to show up at a state dinner in a baby-blue tuxedo with big lapels, completing the retro transformation of the American economy.Update
-- Reader No. 1:
Great ads. And don't miss the film noir stylings of Mattel Tommy Burst.
Reader #1's #1 points out it's not too late for Mad Men to pick up on the kiddie gunslingers, especially given the program's advertising theme - though it will be 1964 next time we see the show... time's passing.
Highly recommended as the funniest and least self-pitying nostalgia trip I've come across: Bill Bryson's Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.
'A New Bailout Plan for the Media?'
From Reader No. 1:
A New Bailout Plan for the Media? Here. What exactly do you suppose Senator Stabenow means by "accountability and standards" on the "airwaves"?
I have my suspicions. I'm against any government speech rules in general, whether in the guise of the Fairness Doctrine or trying to save newspapers via nonprofit tax codes.
But I might entertain slot machines in newsrooms or First-time Reporters Home-buying Programs. ... (Must be a jobs-multiplier effect in there somewhere.
-ed. Damn right.)
Dan Brown vs. Robert Parker
I rarely toss a book aside after reading only a few pages. But the heave-ho was necessary after only 8 pages of reading Dan Brown's Deception Point.
I switched to Robert Parker's Promised Land
instead -- and I'm happy. ... The problem with Deception Point? It wasn't believable from the get-go.
Before you snort with pulp-fiction-is-pulp-fiction derision, I'll try to summarize Roger Ebert's views on such weighty matters. Ebert was once debating a movie with one of his post-Siskel cohosts, who asserted a flick's technology and gadgetry were all wrong. Ebert guffawed and responded: But it's science fiction!
He went on to explain how humans will always be humans -- and you have to make humans believable within fantasies. He gave the movie a thumbs up, despite the subpar special effects. My reaction to Deception Point ran roughly along the same how-to-judge-it lines. The Washington Post reporter in the first pages was all wrong. The power-hungry senator was all wrong. The strong-woman daughter of the power-hungry senator was all wrong -- and you just know she's destined to be taken by the hand and rescued by a strong-man man, who, of course, doesn't know he's a strong man yet. Etc. ... Parker doesn't take his characters so seriously. They're also more believable. Fifteen pages into Promised Land, and Spenser is already craving an upscale lunch at Anthony's Pier 4. Remembering the book was written in 1976, I thought to myself, They really believed Pier 4 was the cat's meow back then.
Therefore the scene was believable. ... That's probably more than you ever needed to know about Hub Blog's profound views on pulp fiction. But I had to say it.
Bipartisanship: 'More style than substance'
Hub Blog believes Obama was sincere about reaching out to Republicans
. But cocktail parties, Capitol visits, Super Bowl parties and other nice ‘overtures' are only surface signs of bi-partisanship. There has to be substantive compromise on issues to be bipartisan. Obama has made some concessions -- and the vast majority of Republicans haven't responded in kind with their own non-tax-cut concessions.
But Obama ultimately hurt his own bipartisan efforts by handing over virtual drafting of the spending component of the stimulus package to Congress – and that meant giving liberal members enormous power to harness a left-centrist mood in the country to push the package farther to the "new American economy" left. They managed the near impossible in the process: uniting a fractured, bankrupt, hypocritical Republican party. Say what you will about firebrand conservatives in the House, the GOP's unanimous rejection of the plan is still astonishing and even a little impressive, though not as impressive as Peggy Noonan
makes it out. The Republicans rediscovered some of their principles despite themselves. As Reader BK
might put it: Who'd-a-thunk it?
P.S. -- I was watching Washington Week in Review last night and one of the panelists (I didn't catch his name) broached roughly the same Republicans-aren't-all-to-blame point. You should have seen the incredulous look of some of the other CW panelists.
P.S.P.S. -- Where do we go from here? Hell if I know. I only hope Dems drop their spending for spending's sake mantra, while Republicans drop their tax cuts for tax cuts' mantra. I'd like to see the total package smaller and harder hitting in the short-term, setting aside long-term spending and tax-cut ideas for later. More money may be needed to bail out the credit system.
P.S.P.S.P.S. -- I liked the observation in the first link about how deeply ingrained partisanship is in Washington. Both sides don't even see it. They rarely give their opponents credit for sincerity. Obama is a little guilty of this. But not nearly as guilty as long-time Washingtonian fanatics.
'To thank them for their patriotism'
Democrats are sounding more like Republicans by the day – the same Republicans who would bring up patriotism anytime someone disagreed with them. But I know what the president meant. He just appreciated cooperation. So no big deal. ...
Back to my unpatriotic ways of criticizing: The stimulus bill still sucks. This
is the area policymakers need to focus on going forward. They'll keep coming back for more and more stimulus actions as long as the credit markets are screwed up. This is where the problem started. This is where the fixin' is needed. Read Harvard's Niall Ferguson
, if you haven't already in the post below. I still believe a stimulus package is needed, if only because Hank Paulson et gang wasted so much time zig-zagging on TARP policies as the economy tanked. But Ferguson makes a strong case that we haven't kept our collective eye on the right ball. ... P.S. -- I'd add back the $40 billion in state assistance, as long as there are corresponding cuts elsewhere and as long as Richard Daley
et gang make their trickle-down state-assistance spending transparent and open to debate and change. It'll also make Charley
'There aren't many ...'
I loved this line by Mickey Kaus
There aren't many respected foreign policy machers who were right on the Iraq war (no) and on the surge (yes).
And one of them just go whacked. … BTW: He also suggests
Caroline Kennedy might make a good ambassador to France. But Peter Porcupine
is reserving that spot for John Kerry. How about the Court of St. James, where Caroline's grandfather once served? …
'Clutching the Keynesian multiplier effect'
Harvard's Niall Ferguson
rips into the economic-stimulus package and says we're concentrating on the wrong thing. ... Via Reader No. 1.
'Is it a symbolic move?'
As they say
, if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer. ... Add speaker term limits to the list of reform distractions
they'll throw out. Anything but pension reform. ...Jim Braude
was interviewing Speaker DeLeo last night when the subject of, gulp, pension reform came up -- and, yes, DeLeo practically gulped when Jim pressed him on it. After a nervous side grin to someone off-camera, DeLeo launched into how he wants to crack down on the Marzilli lose-an-election pension perk for lawmakers. But nothing on early retirement, double-dipping, sick and vacation day payouts
etc. At any moment during the interview, I was half expecting DeLeo to stick his finger in his shirt collar, providing sufficient breathing room before proclaiming how hot it was in the studio. ...
Fearlessly marching toward those sodded Gazebos
sadly buys into the spend big, spend fast and shut up mantra because "almost any new spending will have a stimulative effect - including resodding the National Mall." Really? That's not what the Japanese learned.
From Toshihiro Ihori, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo: "It is not enough just to hire workers to dig holes and then fill them in again." I assume that applies to digging up sod and replanting grass. ... Scot's sentiments are not that far off from those of that esteemed economic expert from Chicago, Richard Daley
, who also believes that almost any spending will have a stimulus effect - so shut up:
Yes, we do, we have our (economic-stimulus) list, we’ve been talking to people. We did not put that out publicly because once you start putting it out publicly, you know, the newspapers, the media is going to be ripping it apart.
Can't have that! No siree. ... I'm kind of waiting for someone to float the idea of encouraging current government workers to retire early, on full bang-for-the-buck pensions, and hiring younger workers to replace them, and you'd get a two-fer jobs-multiplier bang for the buck. ... (Don't even suggest it.
-ed. Too late. I just did.) ...
At the risk of putting forth a "specious argument," take a look at this list of spending
that moderates are trying to cut (otherwise known as "scrubbing" by our president). Right out of the starting gate: “Subsidy for acquaculture producers for high feed input losses" ($100 million -- I can only imagine the loss to humanity if this one is cut). There are plenty of others: "Violence Againt Women Act" ($300 million – as in one-third of a billion dollars); "Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces" ($50 million -- yeah, we got to spend more money on task forces); "Office of Federal Detention" ($150 million – maybe someone should spread a rumor it’s being used for Guantánamo – and then liberals would scramble to cut it); "Rural Drug Enforcement Assistance" ($300 million – more money down the war-on-drugs sink hole); "Historic Preservation Fund" ($50 million – kind of the opposite of ‘shovel ready,’ right?). It goes on and on. …
To repeat: Hub Blog understands and agrees with the rationale for a big stimulus package. The Fed has shot all its interest-rate bolts and the markets have frozen up, etc., etc., etc. For the life of me, I don't understand why the above list cuts "states stabilization" funds when part of the goal is to prevent mass layoffs of local government workers. But it's OK to at least question these spending requests -- and it's definitely OK to demand transparency and time for "scrubbing" items that don't even come close to the definition of "economic stimulus," unless, of course, you think almost any new spending is a form of economic stimulus, at which point we're in sodded Gazebos territory. ...Update
-- Someone informed me that 'states stabilization' funds are not meant to offset loss of revenues per se -- they're for reserve funds. OK. They're not spending it immediately. They're saving it. Liberals complain how tax cuts are bad because too much go to savings, not spending. So what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Cut it. It's a lot of money -- $20 billion.
'I want the Celtics to win it. Are you kidding me?'
The Celts-Lakers tonight.
It's only February. But I'm already in fan playoff mode. Beer? Ice cream? Comfy sofa? Check, check, check.Update
- 2.6.09 -- Good to the last shot - sort of
. The game more than lived up to expectations.
A sense of urgency without delay, Part II
At least some lawmakers
are trying to rein in some of the more absurd ideas for economic-stimulus spending. Here's their tentative cut list
. ... Tom Harkin
thinks the tax cuts are a form of trickle-down economics. But trickle down from where? From the middle-class? Is this the new definition of trickle-down economics? The real trickle down in this plug-ugly bill is from government workers, insiders and activists to the rest of us. ... BTW: TPM
, in its wonky way, is the place to go for info on stimulus-package negotiations
-- More on the centrist negotiations.
But at this point, the bill probably isn't salvageable. It needs a fundamental overhaul, not a trim here and there. ...Update II
-- From Reader No. 1 on 'waste and boondoggles' as mentioned in the post below:
You have quite correctly identified and insightfully perhaps the quintessential statement of Hack-Progressive Philosophy - "There's no way anyone can spend $800 to $900 billion quickly without waste and boondoggles." But it makes two other inadvertent contributions:
- Identifying what 'bipartisanship' really means in Permanent Washington (ie conservatives should agree with liberals)
- Identifying a uniquely Liberal Democratic weakness: Obama is dealing with the Congressional Republicans as though they were a Democratic Interest Group. Say what you want about the Clinton Administration, the Carville/Begala axis would never let that happen with Congress. And divided government was actually pretty good for the economy - but of course, that was in the pre-Post-Partisanship era... careful what you vote for!
A sense of urgency without delay
President Obama is all over the place.
... May Hub Blog give some unsolicited PR, political and economic advice? Here goes: Do not follow or publicly articulate, under any condition, the following line of reasoning
When you are dealing with a stimulus of this size, there are going to be wasteful expenditures and boondoggles. There's no way anyone can spend $800 to $900 billion quickly without waste and boondoggles. It comes with the Keynesian territory. This is an emergency; the normal rules do not apply.
This, Hub Blog submits, is the real reason for so much skepticism out there -- skepticism that isn't confined to the tax-cuts-as-religion conservatives. Americans were rushed into a decision about Iraq. Look what happened. Americans were rushed into a $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Look what happened. Americans are now being rushed into something that's really more of a liberal-wish-list bill than an economic-stimulus package. There's not going to be a David Stockman who later tells us the truth about the real underlying intent of the legislation. Paul Krugman, Robert Reich and others on the left are already blabbing the truth about the bill's real intent of building a "new American economy." Those of us who watched the government's Katrina response aren't buying it. ...
This leads to my second piece of advice: Obama should start negotiations within his own party to pull this bill back to the center. That'll have the almost immediate effect of picking up moderate and moderate-conservative votes. The negotiators can start with some of these ideas
. They should also look at cutting the huge amounts of money now tenatively earmarked for two of the most financially dysfunctional industries in America -- health-care and education. Those of us who have endured double-digit health care and education inflation, year after year after year, aren't buying this one either.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry taken to the extreme
... As long as it doesn't spread to our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
'Troubled Athlete Relief Program'
is on one of his Manny Derangement Syndrome tears. This is a good one.
'Good reason to hope'
liked what he saw in Iraq this past weekend.
'Road to Independence'
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill is all excited: "Finally ... An American Revolution PC game.
" ... It doesn't look realistic to me. Americans in blue uniforms. British in red coats. Set-piece battles. Etc., etc. Now if they replicate the asymmetric
Lexington and Concord, I'm positive I could bottle up the British before they reach Charlestown. ...Update
-- Armchair Gen. Savin Hill says I've underestimated the asymmetrical nature of the series:
This is part of the Total War series that began with Rome. The games feature political, mechanical/industrial strategy as well as military strategy. You have advisors, spies, even weather to contend with. Lexington and Concord almost certainly exist in this game, but you can do anything you want as far as strategy. For instance, I'd be tempted to send a team of diplomats to Lexington and invite all the rebels to Boston for a meeting. Then of course I'd shoot them all.
'Upscale' Part II
Not if the GOP base has its way.Update - 2.3.09
-- From Reader No. 1:
I read the Rasmussen story referenced in your post later today. Without denying the importance of the evangelical base (and the risk that it becomes the conservative equivalent of Organized Labor), a couple of thoughts:
1- It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Republicans would prefer Palin to McCain. He lost! Also, she has charisma, he no longer does. And... . (But as Laura Ingraham noted, that worked with journalists until he was up against real liberals).
2- It also shouldn't surprise anyone that the Republicans would prefer Palin against... anyone. There is no alternative - yet, but we're only two weeks into the Obama Administration.
'Formulas for economic ossification'
From Reader No. 1:
Formulas for economic ossification:
This doesn't seem consistent with the notion of "change."
But you've gotta give Congressional Democrats credit for manufacturing Internal Contradictions faster than the capitalists.
Reader BK noticed something curious about last night's Super Bowl:
Who'd-a-thunk it: The First Super Bowl without any commercials for an American car manufacturer from kick-off through the final whistle. Oh yeah, Bruce Springsteen played the first Super Bowl without any commercials for an American car manufacturer from kick-off through the final whistle.
The Long March to Gazebos, Part II
Two more sane voices on the economic-stimulus bill: Robert Samuelson
and Clive Crook
. From the FT's Crook:
Politicians seem unaware. Jobs are evaporating, the housing market continues to deteriorate, a fresh and even larger wave of mortgage foreclosures may be approaching, the financial system is prostrate. Meanwhile, Democrats dream their dreams about reinventing America and Republicans recite their anti-government catechism.
Neither side seems to care much about delivering the fastest and most effective stimulus the country can get.
points in the direction the GOP needs to go. But I'm not sure the intellectual infrastructure of Ann
etc. are ready for it. At least Mitt would get to run as a normal human being if the GOP adopted the strategy.
'Have a pop at Bono’s bombast'
Reader BK recommendeds this piece
. Not as good a bashing as Billy Joel
got from Ron Rosenbaum (via Dan
). But good enough. ... I could have done without the Bruce Springsteen worship.
'It involves the one and only Roger Clemens'
is mining the new Joe Torre book.
'One of whom makes Pat Buchanan look like Alan Dershowitz'
Tough to do.
But the Vatican found the man
to do it. …
The Long March to Gazebos
The Washington Post has the best chart by far
of the House's $819 billion economic-stimulus plan. ... Hub Blog has a few observations: 1.) Notice the relatively small infrastructure spending. 2.) Notice the huge health-care and education spending (in addition to the huge state-assistance and Medicaid spending). 3.) Notice how the vast majority of money isn’t spent even remotely on 'shovel ready' schedules. I'm with Martin Feldstein
, who still supports the concept of a massive fiscal stimulus package: The plan needs a massive overhaul and Congress needs to slow down, or we're going to get a truly screwed up rushed-too-fast result like we did in Iraq and the Wall Street bailout plan. But I'm not optimistic Congress can do much better for two reasons: 1.) Republicans are being Republicans. 2.) Democrats are being Democrats. ...
Speaking of Democrats, here's why their plan stinks: They've rationalized
spending for spending's sake -- and they're now using that jobs-multiplier rationale and the current economic crisis to launch every pet liberal project they can jam into the bill. Paul 'Health Care Now! Krugman
has thrown off his Nobel-economist hat and is now openly advocating taking political advantage of the situation. And Democrats are lecturing Republicans about partisanship? ...
At this point, I'm asking: Why not Gazebos? Democrats are using their jobs-multiplier calculators for everything else. Maybe they won't allow Gazebos and Bridges To Nowhere in the final bill. Those are now third-rail symbols of waste. But the logic is leading to Gazebos by any other name.
Speaking of the president and Republicans, Reader No. 1 writes in:
Careful, Barack - Peggy Noonan's mad at you. Well, she does spread the blame around. Money quote about the bailout:
"That's what the stimulus bill was about — not knowing what time it is, not knowing the old pork-barrel, group-greasing ways are over, done, embarrassing. When you create a bill like that, it doesn't mean you're a pro, it doesn't mean you're a tough, no-nonsense pol. It means you're a slob."
Money advice for the President: "The race is long. Run seriously."
Hub Blog has a major quibble with Noonan's otherwise fine column: She's too easy on Republicans, who haven't really reached out and instead have withdrawn into their tax-cuts-as-religion mode, leaving the field open for liberal Democrats to do what they want.
Back to the president, here's why he deserves blame: He allowed Congress to fill in the blanks.
But I'm wondering if he might -- might
-- be pulling a sly Ben Franklin-like ploy of allowing others to catch up, get out in front and then fall flat on their faces. ... BTW - The Economist
on the U.S. economy: 'Even worse than it looks.' ... BTW II: Some good news
on the stimulus-planning front. More trimming, please.
'It’s time to end busing in Boston,' Part II
A big debate is under way at Adam's site
over Landmark's op-ed.
The complexity of today's busing system reminds me of Microsoft's old MS-DOS -- a bad platform overlaid by better or slightly better programs and platforms that aren't easy to untangle. Adam's point that busing has become more about choice than race is well taken. But Landmark is right to point out the system is a mess. ...Update
: Good riddance to busing.
Hub Blog last night watched Appaloosa
, based on Robert Parker's novel of the same name
, and boy did I like it. Maybe I'm biased because I enjoy the snappy pace and smart-ass dialogue of Parker's books. But Roger Ebert
also gave a big thumbs up to Appaloosa. ... Parker, who's sort of adapting his Boston-based Spenser character to westerns, has an Appaloosa sequel, Resolution
, coming out this spring. I hope Ed Harris is already writing a film script and invites back Viggo Mortensen
, who almost steals the show in Appaloosa. If the second flick is as good as the first, we're entering memorable Bourne
pulp-fiction-to-movies territory. ...